During graduate school, Falconer Al-Hindi became absorbed in women’s studies and feminist issues. At the urging of a friend, Falconer Al-Hindi joined the campus group, “The Women’s Forum,” whose yearly project was a consciousness-raising “Take Back the Night” march, a rally where participants speak out against sexual violence toward women (“History”). After the march, Falconer Al-Hindi began to wonder how much the fear of sexual assault by a stranger influenced undergraduate women’s travel and activity decisions on campus. At the same time, Falconer Al-Hindi struggled to complete a research proposal for a research methods seminar. The medical geography topic she researched interested her only a little, and she found herself drifting from her inquiry while in the library. “The books I was supposed to be reading for my proposal and the books on sexual assault and women’s fear were near each other on the library shelves,” Falconer Al-Hindi recalls. Finding herself drawn to the books on fear and sexual assault, Falconer Al-Hindi scrapped her initial topic and wrote a new proposal in three days.
The professor teaching the research seminar furthered Falconer Al-Hindi’s interest in feminism and geography when he returned her new proposal and encouraged her to use it for her master’s thesis. Having written on it, I don’t know what your plans are, but somebody needs to do this, Falconer Al-Hindi found her niche and titled her thesis: Perceptions of Campus Landscapes and Fear of Sexual Assault: Effects on Female Undergraduate Travel Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Falconer Al-Hindi also learned another important lesson during this time; she learned that a person’s passion could serve as a mitigator between his/her life and work. As Falconer Al-Hindi enumerates, the experience was “a classic case of someone (me) thinking that ‘work’ and ‘life’ had to be separate, when in fact my work was deeper and more useful and my life more meaningful when I put them together.” This newly discovered principle would guide Falconer Al-Hindi as she began her career, married and started a family, and as she continued her research, blending these facets of her life into a meaningful body of work.
Falconer Al-Hindi’s interest in feminism and geography continued to evolve, and with her master’s degree complete, she enrolled at the University of Kentucky to begin work on her Ph.D. By amalgamating her interests in human geography and women’s studies, Falconer Al-Hindi wrote a dissertation titled Space, Gender, and Work in the Context of Technological Change: Telecommuting Women. With her Ph.D. completed, Falconer Al-Hindi was ready to begin her professional career as a geography instructor. Dr. Karen Falconer Al-Hindi joined the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) faculty in 1993 as an Assistant Professor of Geography. The first classes she taught were Introduction to Human Geography and a graduate seminar titled History and Philosophy of Geography. She served as the Acting Department Chair for the Department of Geography and Geology during different periods. Falconer Al-Hindi was also the Graduate Program Committee